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Government is denying potential homebuyers

Nia Williams

February 15, 2011

Commenting on the Affordable Homes Programme announced yesterday, she said: “That the Tory-led Government wants the right to kick social housing tenants out of their homes if they get a pay rise shows they just don’t get aspiration.

“It can’t be fair that people who work hard and play by the rules are being told they may lose their home if they get a new job or get promoted at work.

“At the same time, the Tory-led Government wants to hike up rents for many new social housing tenants by thousands of pounds a year, to cover for their cuts in funding for new house building.

“Their new proposals not to cap higher rent levels at the same level as housing benefit caps could see social rents in London more than treble – but even that won’t fund the extra homes needed.

“Those looking to get a foot on the housing ladder are in danger of being denied by a Government which doesn’t understand aspiration and which is presiding over a collapse in new house building.”

Grant Shapps launched the new scheme to deliver affordable homes for those in need, yesterday.

Under the new scheme landlords will be able to offer homes to tenants on fixed tenancies charging a rent of up to 80% of local market rate – one of a number of efforts being made to move away from the ‘one size fits all’ system of social housing to one where a range of options are available to meet local housing needs. The extra revenue raised from rents would then be invested in building new homes, according to Shapps.

Alongside this greater private investment, the Government will also invest £4.5 billion to deliver up to 150,000 new affordable homes over the next four years.

The flexible tenancies will be for new tenants only – the lifetime tenancies and succession rights of existing council and housing association tenants will not be affected.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: “This new scheme will provide new affordable homes which could help some of the millions of families currently on housing waiting lists, let down by a rigid, outdated system that is failing to meet their needs. But this scheme is also part of the most radical reforms to social housing for a generation, vital to ensuring that as many people as possible benefit from this valuable resource.”

Pat Ritchie, chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) which is responsible on behalf of Government for funding the new Affordable Rent model, said: “This new way of operating will allow us to do more with less resources, but it will rely heavily on effective working partnerships between local authorities and Providers. The HCA will play a key role in supporting these.”


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